Aside from their love of basketball, Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) have very little in common, but their shared father will forever connect their lives in ways they could never imagine. Their father, Dan Scott (Paul Johansson), abandoned Lucas and chose to raise Nathan in his image — a life of luxury and basketball that molded him into the star of the Tree Hill Ravens basketball team that he has become. Lucas was raised by his single mother, Karen Roe (Moira Kelly), with help from his uncle, Keith Scott (Craig Sheffer). He kept his distance from Nathan, but his love of basketball led their worlds to collide when the Ravens’ coach, Whitey Durham (Barry Corbin), put Lucas on the team. As the brothers take the court, side-by-side, Lucas and Nathan struggle to come to terms with the past that has haunted both boys their entire life. However, though basketball, and the slow road to discovering themselves, Lucas and Nathan soon find that they have more in common than they could have ever imagined.
When the Ravens aren’t on the court, the lives of the citizens of Tree Hill, a picturesque ocean-side town, are connected in webs of passion, betrayal, and lies. From the beginning, Lucas had his eye on Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton), a cheerleader and Nathan’s former girlfriend, but has an on-again, off-again relationship with Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) as Peyton struggles with her true feelings. Lucas’ best friend, Haley James (Bethany Joy Lenz) is able to see past the “bad boy” front that Nathan puts up and finds in him an unexpected love. Their relationship soon blossoms into marriage and together they fight against the odds to make it as a teenaged married couple.
Starting with the fifth season, the series fast-forwarded four years into the future, following the lives of the five young adults as they begin their lives in the real world. Nathan and Haley are struggling with the pressures of being young, married parents; Lucas, after writing and publishing his first novel, works to find inspiration for his second book all while coaching the Tree Hill Ravens; Brooke owns and runs her own fashion company, Clothes Over Bro’s; and Peyton works to find her way into the music industry by starting her own record label.
While the lives of these five young adults continue to intertwine in the midst of the joy and devastating tragedy that comes their way, lives are changed forever as they deal with decisions made years ago, as well as the ones made daily, that continue to shape the world around them.